Protect Your Child From Spring Allergies

ChildFinally spring has sprung and your child is probably running for the outdoors after being cooped up in the house all winter. But as soon as you started opening up the windows and letting that fresh air in, you may have noticed that your child has started suffering with a scratchy throat and stuffy nose. Just like last year.

What is going on with this poor timing of your kids getting sick right when they can go spend some time outside? It just may be that your child isn’t suffering from a head cold at all, but rather from allergies.

Children can develop allergies from as young as 12 months old and usually show signs of them before they reach age 10 (although symptoms can begin outside of that age range). According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology:

  • In 2012, 9.0% or 6.6 million children reported hay fever in the past 12 months.
  • In 2012, 10.6% or 7.8 million children reported respiratory allergies in the past 12 months.
  • Worldwide, sensitization rates to one or more common allergens among school children are currently approaching 40%-50%.

While the good news is that many children outgrow allergies in later adulthood, you’re still concerned about them right now. And you should be. KidsHealth explains that:

Seasonal allergies not only make life miserable for your child [causing restless sleep, exhaustion, trouble concentrating], but if left untreated, they can lead to some greater long-term health problems, such as sinusitis, chronic ear infections, and even asthma.

The even better news is that there are some things you can do today to help ease your child’s suffering. First and foremost, make an appointment with your doctor or an ENT specialist such as one of the expert physicians at our sister practice Westwood Ear, Nose and Throat. Our staff will make you and your child feel at ease from the moment you walk in the door and throughout the entire visit. We’ll begin by talking to you and your child about their medical history and symptoms. Next, we’ll perform thorough testing to determine exactly what is triggering the allergies. Finally, we’ll develop an individualized treatment plan that is perfect for your child.

Help your child hop happily into the season and away from allergy symptoms. Call Westwood ENT today at (888) 230-3715 and schedule your appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices.

For tips on keeping your child with allergies (and any adults too) healthy this season, visit our blogs:

To help your child learn more about their allergies, visit the KidsHealth page “Learning About Allergies” for educational articles in fun and easy-to-understand kid-speak.

And last, but not least, for all of your other allergy and sinus-related questions, visit the CT Sinus Center webpage and blog.

Setting the Record Straight: Deviated Septum

deviated septumThe nasal septum is the bone and cartilage in the middle of your nose. It is what separates your nasal cavities and is responsible for keeping you breathing freely through your nose. However, if the septum is crooked, or deviated, it can hinder your breathing.

According to WebMD, about 80% of people have somewhat of a deviated septum. The good news is that unless the deviation is severe, you probably won’t even notice it. And fortunately, for most people, this is the case. Unfortunately for the others, a seriously crooked septum can result in breathing problems and requires treatment.

How do I know if I require treatment?

Because the symptoms of a deviated septum mirror those of chronic sinusitis and allergies, it’s important to go to a doctor for a proper diagnosis. WebMD lists them as:

What causes a deviated septum?

You may be born with one, or it can come about because of injury. That said, a broken nose doesn’t necessarily lead to a deviated septum.

What’s the treatment for this condition?

To manage your congestion and discomfort, you can reach for the old standbys:

Or, if you are ready to do more than just manage it, you can schedule an appointment at our sister office, Westwood Ear, Nose and Throat for a more permanent solution. Through superior, patient-centered care, our doctors will be able to determine if you have a deviated septum and whether or not you are a candidate for a surgical procedure called septoplasty, which will repair a crooked septum and improve breathing. During these procedures, the doctor will make a small incision in the area of the nose that needs repairing and remove excess bone or cartilage or lessen swelling and blockage in other ways that can widen the breathing space. Sometimes, a rhinoplasty is combined with septoplasty to improve the appearance or crookedness of the nose.

This outpatient procedure is performed under local or general anesthesia and can usually be done within an hour and a half. If you eligible to have it, your doctor will make sure that you are prepared and comfortable every step of the way.

If you think you may be suffering from a deviated septum, make a straight-line path to your phone and call Westwood Ear, Nose and Throat at  (203) 574-5987 today.

With three conveniently-located offices, there is no reason to turn your nose up to finding relief.

For information on all things related to to sinuses and allergies, visit CT Sinus Center’s website and blog.

6 Spring Cleaning Tips For Allergy Sufferers

CleaningSpring is just around the corner, and you know what that means: spring cleaning. Love it or hate it, it’s a seasonal ritual that does wonders for both your health and your state of mind. But if you suffer from allergies, spring cleaning can be a devil in disguise.

Are we saying that you shouldn’t spring clean? No (sorry); it’s actually very important. What we are saying is that when it comes to this task, there are precautions that you should be taking so that you aren’t actually making your allergies worse. Let’s look at some things that can trigger an allergy attack.

  1. Opening windows. What is one of the first things you do when the weather gets warmer? You open the windows. Unfortunately, this is literally inviting the allergens in. To freshen up rooms while keeping the windows closed, use an air purifier or a diffuser with essential oils. If you absolutely have to open the windows, make sure the pollen count is low.
  2. Dusting. During the winter months, because people spend so much time inside, dust can build up. When you start moving things around, cleaning under, behind, between, etc., the more dust you kick up, the more your allergies will kick in. Wear a mask while cleaning and do a little at a time if your symptoms are acting up. The same goes for when you vacuum. Your best bet, allergies or not, is to purchase a vacuum cleaner with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter that you keep clean.
  3. Bringing out the spring wardrobe. If you tend to put your warm-weather clothes away for the colder seasons and do the “closet switch-out” as soon as the temperature hits 50, wash your clothes before you wear them. Over the months, dust and mold can settle in your garments, which will trigger your allergies.
  4. Letting the dogs out. You may not want to roll around in the fresh growing grass or flower garden, but Fido may, and that gives allergens a free ride in. Also, with the warmer weather, your pet will probably want to go outside more, which means that you’ll want to give him more frequent baths. To make things worse, Fido will be shedding, which adds even more dander to the mix.
  5. Removing mold. Now is the time to inspect spots, inside and out, that may be harboring mold — from your deck and patio furniture to the corners of your garage to the tiles in the bathroom. Even walls can harbor mold. So as you go big with the cleaning, don’t forget all the little corners and crevices where allergens may be hiding. Wear a mask and rubber gloves for further protection.
  6. Using cleaning products. It’s no secret that cleaning products use harsh chemicals and that many people have allergic reactions to them. Be careful with what you are using because not only will the products trigger symptoms while you’re using them, but also well after as the chemicals stick around. For a useful guide on allergy-friendly cleaning products, visit “Home Cleaning Tips for Allergy Sufferers” on the Everyday Health website.

Not sure what is causing your symptoms or looking for relief from them once and for all? Make an appointment at CT Sinus Center today and see what our expert physicians can do for you. When you come in, we’ll sit down and discuss your symptoms before we start a series of diagnostic procedures to figure out exactly what is triggering your allergies. Once we get answers, we’ll develop a treatment plan that is right for your specific lifestyle.

Now are we telling you that once you find relief you no longer have to spring clean? Again, no, sorry; but at least you will feel much more comfortable while you do it.

Call 860-BALLOON today and make your appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices and add your sinus cavities to your cleaning list.

For more information on sinus– and allergy-related conditions and treatments, visit the CT Sinus Center website and blog.

Are Sinus Navigation Systems Necessary?

Sinus NavigationYou may have seen advertisements and news stories on the latest trend in sinus procedure technology: Fiagon Sinus Navigation. In this blog we are going to take a look at it and see if it’s as good as it’s made out to be.

First, what is it?

Think of Fiagon Sinus Navigation as a GPS for your sinus cavity that allows your doctor to see and maneuver through structures within the cavity and pinpoint the area of trouble. Designed specifically for procedures performed in an office, it can be integrated into a doctor’s existing surgical setup.

Sounds great, but what’s in the fine print?

In essence, the navigation system is an additional procedure. This means that when it’s used, it adds cost and length to the original procedure.

Does CT Sinus Center use Fiagon Sinus Navigation?

No, we do not. Our physicians are all certified in specialized fields, some holding multiple degrees, others having even used their extensive knowledge to author various publications in their particular areas of expertise. In other words, Dr.Loughlin, Dr. Spinella and Dr. Marcus have the know-how and experience to perform procedures without using an additional navigation system — and have proven so time and time again.


Does this mean that my procedure at CT Sinus Center is less effective than one that uses the navigation system?

Absolutely not. As we mentioned above, our physicians have been successfully carrying out sinus procedures using their own navigation abilities for over 50 years combined. So at CT Sinus Center, not only are you getting expert care that leads to permanent relief of your sinus conditions, you are not being forced to undergo an unnecessary extra step that will increase your costs and procedure length.

Want to know more?

If you are looking to put an end to your sinus suffering and want to find out how CT Sinus Center can provide superior, affordable treatment in just about an hour, call us today. Whether your specific case calls for Balloon Sinus Dilation or Turbinate Reductions, our expert physicians will make sure they put you on the right path to sinus health.

Make your appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices by calling 860-BALLOON. Our sinus procedures may not be offering extravagant bells and whistles, but they are providing superior, non-invasive, permanent relief. So save the GPS for driving instructions.

For more information on all things sinus– and allergy-related, visit the CT Sinus Center webpage and blog.

Resources for Being Sinusitis Free in the New Year

New YearThe new year is a time for reflection, and in this blog, we are going to take a look back at some of what we learned about sinus and allergy issues in the past year. Hopefully these resources will provide you with what you need to transition into 2017 totally sinus free!

What causes allergy/sinus problems?

What’s all the hype about gluten?

How can I treat allergy/sinus problems?

More allergy facts:

With all of the resolutions you are going to make for the new year, why not make one that will put a permanent end to your allergy/sinus suffering? Call CT Sinus Center and schedule an appointment with one of our expert physicians to see what we can do for you. Our philosophy of patient-centered care will put you at ease the moment you walk in the door to the moment you leave (even if you need a procedure). First, we’ll sit down with you and discuss your symptoms before doing thorough diagnostic testing to see exactly what is triggering your condition. Afterward, we’ll develop an individualized treatment plan that fits your specific lifestyle. You may even be a candidate for one of our two outpatient procedures, both of which will permanently end your suffering in around an hour:

  • Balloon Sinus Dilation, which will reshape your nasal passages, promoting draining and natural healing.
  • Turbinate Reductions, in which the tissue in the nose that supports the nasal passages is decreased, decreasing the size of the turbinate and quickly increasing airflow.

Call 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices, and breathe easy into the new year.

For more information on all things sinus– and allergy-related, visit the CT Sinus website and blog.

Preparing for a Procedure

procedureIf you have ever undergone a medical procedure or surgery, you know that the anticipation can one of the worst parts of the entire process. However, when you are coming in to CT Sinus Center for either balloon sinus dilation or turbinate reduction, we will do everything we can to make sure you are prepared, calm and comfortable from your very first appointment.   

The Fear Factor

The reason anticipation is so scary is because it is usually accompanied by a fear of the unknown. What is going to happen during the procedure? How will I feel afterwards? What will my recovery be like? What if something goes wrong? This anxiety is completely natural, and everyone who works at CT Sinus takes it all very seriously.

Our Approach

We have built our practice around our patient-centered model of care, which means that from the minute you walk through our door, we will take the time to make sure your needs come first. What does this look like?

The Treatment

To begin with, it looks like our doctors taking the time to sit down with you to thoroughly discuss your diagnosis and the options you have for treatment. Instead of just telling you what treatment to have, we’ll work with you to make sure that it is the right one for you specifically. Patient-centered care also looks like everyone on staff making sure that you fully understand every step of the procedure you are going to undergo and being attentive and responsive to any questions and concerns you have about any of it.

Trusted Physicians

Most physicians will give you a list of instructions to follow before undergo a procedure, but not all of them will give you the peace of mind that our expert physicians will. Want to hear it from a patient? Watch a testimonial from a balloon sinus dilation patient.

If you are having sinus and allergy problems and you want to put an end to them, call CT Sinus today at  860-BALLOON and see what we can do for you. With four offices conveniently located throughout Connecticut, the right patient-centered care is just a short drive away.

For more information on sinus and allergy issues, visit the CT Sinus Center website and blog.

Gluten Sensitivity: It Does Exist

gluten sensitivityOne of the most troublesome and frustrating things about experiencing bloating from a gluten sensitivity is that the problem can often go undiagnosed for years. This is partly because up until very recently, the medical world didn’t recognize non-celiac, non-wheat allergy discomfort as a thing. Another reason is that bloating can be caused by a number of dietary issues as well as water gain, dehydration, stress, medication, and illness, and there had not previously been a scientific way to tie it to gluten consumption.

Luckily for sufferers today, the condition is becoming widely recognized. According to the article “Is Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity Real?” on WebMD, “Between 0.5 percent and 6 percent of the general population are estimated to have non-celiac wheat sensitivity.” However, Armin Alaedini, a senior researcher and assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University, points out that this is not an exact number as to date, there haven’t been accurate diagnostic tools or studies on the condition.

That said, we may be getting closer to a true diagnostic test as the article continues on to state that “Some people suffer changes within their bodies after eating gluten that are separate and distinct from those that accompany either celiac disease or wheat allergy, researchers report.” In other words, first science has confirmed that gluten sensitivity exists and now is getting closer to isolating the substance that triggers it.

All of that said, for those people who do experience bloating from a gluten sensitivity, the connection may be recognizable once they think about their eating habits and when the discomfort occurs. Even before people began to understand that the illness exists. Sufferers may have also realized that they experience many of the other ailments now linked to the condition:

  • Brain fog
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Heartburn and burping
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Tingling in hands or feet
  • Chronic fatigue

As of today, the best way to avoid a gluten reaction is to remove wheat from your diet. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done as gluten is a commonly used ingredient in many of the foods we eat on a daily basis. So to help you plan gluten-free meals, the Celiac Disease Foundation has compiled a list of sources of gluten and their derivatives to avoid as well as one of foods that are safe to eat. WebMd also offers tips for gluten-free living in this sideshow. Last but not least, many companies are now making gluten-free products to meet the growing demands of consumers looking to avoid gluten for any reason.

Do you want to spice up your own gluten-free diet? Check out the following recipe sites that offer such delicious cuisine that even people who have no gluten reaction will find the meals delightful:

If you think that you or someone you love is suffering from a gluten sensitivity, schedule an appointment at CT Sinus Center for food allergy testing. Our expert physicians will take the time to thoroughly discuss your diet and symptoms before administering diagnostic testing. Although there is no exact test for gluten sensitivity, by process of elimination and dietary counseling, we’ll get you back to feeling and eating healthy in no time.

Call 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices.

And for all things allergy– and sinus-related, check out the CT Sinus website and blog.

How to Handle Hives

HivesSometimes allergic reactions manifest as red, itchy or stinging bumps on top of the skin. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) states that 20 percent of people will experience these hives, or urticaria, at least once in their lives. The condition is easy to spot, but the ACAAI lists some things about hives that you should be aware of:

  • An actual hive usually lasts under 24 hours, but the reaction can last for weeks. This is because as the bumps fade, new ones can take their place.
  • Hives can appear on the skin anywhere.
  • During a reaction, it’s possible that not all hives will be the same shape or in the same area.
  • If you apply pressure to the bumps, they will turn from red to white (blanching).
  • The overall reaction is usually acute (lasting under 6 weeks), however may be chronic (lasting over 6 weeks).

Hives can be caused by a number of different things:  

  • Some food (especially peanuts, eggs, nuts and shellfish)
  • Pet dander
  • Pollen
  • Some plants, such as poison oak and poison ivy
  • Medications, such as antibiotics (especially penicillin and sulfa), aspirin and ibuprofen
  • Insect stings or bites
  • Physical stimuli, such as pressure, cold, heat, exercise or sun exposure
  • Latex
  • Blood transfusions
  • Bacterial infections, including urinary tract infections and strep throat
  • Viral infections, including the common cold, infectious mononucleosis and hepatitis

Fortunately, most cases of hives, while uncomfortable, pose no real health threat. However, chronic hives can be a sign of an immune disorder and can lead to health problems down the road. So if you are experiencing this reaction, you should get checked out. Also, people often incorrectly self-diagnose their condition as hives when it is really angioedema, a swelling under the skin. The symptoms of angioedema are a little different and include:

  • Swelling in the eyes or mouth
  • Swelling of the hands, feet or throat
  • Difficulty breathing, stomach cramps or chemosis (swelling of the lining of the eyes)

With either hives or angioedema, severe reactions need immediate medical attention.

And as we said above, even if you have mild symptoms, you should see an allergist to determine exactly what is causing your reaction — because why suffer if you don’t have to.

With state-of-the art diagnostic practices and tools, such as those used in food allergy testing, the expert physicians at CT Sinus Center will be able to pinpoint your triggers and devise an individual treatment plan. Whether that plan includes medications or avoidance practices, we will make sure that it keeps you safe and comfortable

Call us today at 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices

And for all things sinus– and allergy-related, visit the CT Sinus Center website and blog.

Knocked Out by Allergies: Allergic Shiners

allergic shinerMost of us recognize dark circles under the eyes as a sign of exhaustion or a fight (you should see the other guy). However they are also a symptom of allergies. While the discoloration is harmless, having them or seeing them on someone you love, especially a child, can be very worrisome.

“Allergic shiners” occur when congestion in the sinus cavities causes vascular congestion in the small veins under the eyes. In other words, when the sinuses are blocked, nothing around your face drains well. Therefore where usually blood will flow freely through the capillaries under the eyes back to the heart, when there is congestion, the blood pools, creating dark circles and sometimes puffiness. Combine these symptoms with the itchy eyes that are often associated with allergies and the rubbing that accompanies the itch, and you have a recipe for very irritated-looking eyes.

How are allergic shiners different from black eyes?

In the allergic shiner, the blood pools in enlarged veins, where in the other kind caused by impact, there is actually bleeding under the skin due to broken or leaked veins or capillaries. Both types are very visible because the skin under your eyes is extremely thin. In addition, the older you get, the thinner the skin gets, making shiners of any kind seem more prominent.

How do I treat an allergic shiner?

The treatment for allergy-induced under eye circles is the same as for the other symptoms of allergic rhinitis because the goal is to unclog the sinus cavities, therefore releasing any blockage preventing the blood from flowing freely. These treatment methods include:

Or, you can make an appointment with us at CT Sinus Center to find out more information about how through our one-time, innovative procedures, we can put an end to your allergy suffering forever. When you come in, our expert physicians will take the time to sit down with you to discuss your symptoms and then proceed with thorough state-of-the art diagnostic tools to diagnose your condition. Next, they will come up with an individualized treatment plan that is the perfect match for you. You may be eligible for Balloon Sinus Dilation, which will reshape your nasal passages, effectively eliminating the chances of continued problems. Or perhaps Turbinate Reductions, in which the tissue in the nose that supports the nasal passages is decreased, decreasing the size of the turbinate and quickly increasing airflow, is your best bet.

Stop going round for round with your allergies. Call 860-BALLOON today to schedule an appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices.

For more information on allergies and other sinus conditions, visit the CT Sinus Center website and blog.

Food for Thought: Food Allergy vs. Food Intolerance

Food IntolerancePeople often say that they can’t eat certain things because they are allergic to them, but in many cases, what they mean is that they have an intolerance to it. However, it is very important to understand the differences between a food allergy and a food intolerance, because that knowledge can literally save your, or someone else’s, life.

According to WebMD, the two conditions share the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

But that is where the similarities end.

Now let’s take a look at the differences.

This chart from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital breaks them down clearly:

Food Intolerance

What causes food intolerance?

A food intolerance occurs when there is a problem in properly breaking down food in the digestive system. The most common intolerance is to lactose, and there are a few conditions that can provoke an intolerance reaction. Mayo Clinic cites the following triggers:

  • Absence of an enzyme needed to fully digest a food
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Food poisoning
  • Sensitivity to food additives
  • Recurring stress or psychological factors
  • Celiac disease

What causes food allergies?

A food allergy takes place in the immune system and, like seasonal allergies, occurs when your body determines something is harmful and produces antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) explains, “These antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals, causing an allergic reaction. Each type of IgE has a specific ‘radar’ for each type of allergen.”

According to Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE):

  • Researchers estimate that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies and the number of sufferers is on the rise for no known reason.
  • This potentially deadly disease affects 1 in every 13 children (under 18 years of age) in the U.S.
  • The economic cost of children’s food allergies is nearly $25 billion per year.

The following is a list of the most common allergens, with links to their descriptions on the FARE website. The site also discusses some of the less common, but equally as dangerous, food allergy triggers.

If you have a reaction, whether severe or mild, it is extremely important that you see a doctor in order to find out if you have an intolerance or an allergy and what has caused it. Through patient-centered care, our expert physicians at CT Sinus Center will use up-to-date diagnostic knowledge and tools to find out exactly what is triggering your reaction. And once that is determined, they will set up an effective, individualized treatment plan to keep you safe and feeling great.

To make an appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices, call 860-BALLOON today. Food is one of the great pleasures of life; you deserve to enjoy it without anxiety.

For more information on food allergies, download the National Institution of Allergies and Infectious Diseases helpful guide for families.   

For more information on all things sinus and allergies, visit the CT Sinus website and blog.